After a successful loan spell in North London, Thierry Henry has begun his third season in Major League Soccer. The Arsenal legend is looking to build on his strong performances from 2011 and lead the New York Red Bulls to success as MLS kicks off its 17th season.
Each week, USA.Arsenal.com will provide a brief look at the progress of Thierry and the Red Bulls.
New York Red Bulls 1-0 Chicago Fire
Wednesday, July 18
Red Bull Arena – Harrison, NJ
By Kevin Mooney
The New York Red Bulls battled the heat and put down the Fire at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday afternoon. Thierry Henry scored a highlight-reel goal as his side overcame temperatures that hit 106 F (41 C) during the game, to end a three game winless streak.
A 1 p.m. ET kickoff meant that the day would only get hotter so home side switched tactics from the start. The Red Bulls went with a 4-4-2, starting Henry up front with fellow Frenchman Sebastien LeToux.
The action was muted until the 21st minute when New York right back Brandon Barklage found Mehdi Ballouchy on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder cut back the ball and fired, but Sean Johnson made the save.
Twenty minutes later, Barklage again nearly set up the opening goal, feeding Le Toux whose almost bicycle kick sailed over the goal. The Red Bulls had found their feet and were clearly looking to go into the break with a lead. But attempts by Joel Lindpere and Le Toux were scooped up by Johnson.
As the temperature continued to rise, the game's pace slowed down and Chicago looked content to just absorb New York's attack. The best opportunity for the Red Bull in the early part of the second half was a handball shout that was quickly rebuffed by the referee.
But then came the goal everyone has been talking about. Twenty minutes from time, Le Toux floated a pass over the Chicago defense toward Henry on the left corner of the penalty area. The Arsenal legend chested down the ball and from a tight angle fired -- left-footed and across his body -- to the far corner past a diving Johnson. The ball careened of the post and into the net for the Frenchman's 10th goal of the season and first since April 28th -- the day he suffered a hamstring injury minutes after scoring against New England.
Video courtesy of NewYorkRedBulls.com
Down by a goal the Fire had to change tactics. Looking for the equalizer in the 83rd minute, Chicago poured on the pressure. Starting with a dangerous free kick, Chicago threatened three times in the span of 15 seconds, including a header that was cleared off the line by Barklage.
The visitors had one last opportunity on the final play of the game, but Pavel Pardo's in-swinging corner was headed away and then cleared by Le Toux.
The win pushed the Red Bulls into second place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings with 35 points -- just one point behind leaders Sporting Kansas City. New York next play on Saturday -- their third game in one week -- against the visiting Philadelphia Union.